MyBrewbot Operating Instructions

Introduction: MyBrewbot Operating Instructions

Congratulations and thank you for buying a MyBrewbot fermentation telemetry system. We hope you will get great pleasure from using it and make some great beer in the process.

We have tried to make these instructions as clear and comprehensive as we can but we always welcome suggestions for improvement. If you follow the steps in sequence then you should have a trouble free install.

If not, then please get in touch via email at info@mybrewbot.com

Regards and thank you.

Jeremy

Supplies:

5v 2A Micro USB PSU

2.4ghz WiFi Connection

MyBrewbot App

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Step 1: What's in the Box?

Depending on the equipment you have purchased there will be a number of items in the box:

  1. The MyBrewbot Controller:
  2. Hub(s) for connecting multiple probes to the controller
  3. Temperature probes
  4. A pressure sensor and 3m extension cable

The connectors on the box are as follows:

  • Front - USB power supply

Side: - Connectors

  • White JCT plug for relay or other digital input/output
  • Black 3.5mm Jack Socket - digital temperature probe/Hub
  • Green 3.5mm Jack Socket - digital temperature probe/Hub
  • Pink 3.5mm Jack Socket - analog pressure sensor

On the top of the box there is a reset button and a status LED

  • single press cycles power
  • double press within 10 seconds resets the wifi connection

Step 2: Setting Up the App

Start the setup process with the controller plugged into USB power only.

Use a regular USB charging cable and a USB power supply that is rated 2.1A or over.

If you have a probe or multiple probes and the hub, leave these disconnected.

Go to the Apple Store or Google Play and search for MyBrewbot. Download the application to your phone and open it up.

Make sure that your smartphone is connected to the SSID you want to connect the controller to and that it is a 2.4ghz connection. It can also be helpful if you turn off any 4g mobile data services.

You will be asked to provide an email address and a password. The email address is used to send data to you if you want to download your brewing data.

Once you have entered your email address and password you will be asked to give the device a name. You can leave it as the default or call it anything you like.

Once you have selected 'set up device' you will be asked to select the SSID that the controller will link to and enter the password for that SSID. Take care with entering the correct password.

You will then be asked which device you want to connect to. You should see MyBrewbot in the list of SSIDs you are presented with. Select that and press OK.

The screen will then show you progress, and, if all the steps have been carried out successfully then you will be told that you are done.

The previously blank screen will now start to populate itself with data and headings. Wait for things to settle down (usually a minute or so) and then you are good to go to the next step.

Step 3: Setting Up the Controller

Get the latest Software

Go to the System Settings tab.

At the top you will see a red slide bar. Drag this across to the left until it turns green.

This is the lock bar and you need to unlock the device each time before it will accept instructions. The lock is automatically applied every time you move away from the MyBrewbot app.

Underneath the lock bar you will see information on the installed software and the latest version of software available on the MyBrewbot server. If these are not the same then you will need to install the latest software.

Scroll down until you see 'Device Admin'.

Select ‘Update S/W’.

The right hand menu will change to ‘Update S/W’, touch that and select ‘Update S/W’.

After a few seconds you will see the screen informing you that the download has started.

Wait for the screen to refresh itself once the download has completed.

Once you are happy that the screen has refreshed, perform a hard reset by removing power from the controller, waiting 10 seconds and then powering up again.

Step 4: Setting Up Probes

If you have got temperature probe/probes for your MyBrewbot then now is the time to register the probes.

If you have more than two probes to register, then connect the hub to the controller with it's jack. The jack plug goes into either the green or black socket. The pink socket is for the pressure sensor.

If you just have less than 3 probes then they can be plugged directly into the controller. Each probe has a unique address which is registered with the controller during setup – so it doesn’t matter which hub/controller socket you plug it in to.

Insert your first probe into the hub/controller. It is important to do this one probe at a time.

Unlock the UI and go to the Sensors tab.

At the top of the screen you will see a 'Search for Probes' button. Press this. It will turn red and say it's searching.

After a few seconds you should see a probe address (eg 28713755a0057) appear on the left hand side.

Press the search button again to stop the controller from searching and assign the probe to one of your fermenters either as a beer probe (taking the temperature of the fermenting wort) or as an ambient probe (taking the ambient temperature inside your fermentation fridge).

If you have both a Tilt and a beer probe you can choose which you want to control the temperature.

Go to the selections menu on the fermenters tab, scroll down until you see ‘Probe Control’ or ‘Beer Control’, select the menu item and press OK to change control to your desired method.

The probes have a shrink wrap cover over the join between the cable and probe. This can be safely stripped without compromising the waterproof connection which is protected by a resin bond if you need to fit one into a thermowell.

Step 5: Setting Up Tilts

Setting up your Tilt devices couldn't be easier.

When setting up it's good practise to try to remove as many other bluetooth devices (fitbits, bluetooth speakers etc) from wherever you are setting up.

Take your first Tilt and place it in a glass of water. Go to the probes screen and scroll down to the Tilt settings area.

Press the 'Search for Tilts' bar. After a few moments you should see that the first Tilt has been discovered and it's colour will show in the text field beneath the search bar..

Assign the Tilt to the fermenter of your choice by selecting from the dropdown box to the right of the Tilt colour indicator. That colourTilt is now registered to that Fermenter and will provide temperature information to the MyBrewbot controller. It will also collect the SG data and send this to the cloud.

If you select Tilt Temperature control in the Fermenter settings tab then that Tilt will also control your heating/cooling.

If you have a second Tilt then repeat the process assigning it to the next Fermenter using the other fermenter’s dropdown.

To switch a Tilt from one fermenter to another first deregister the Tilt by using the dropdown box and selecting 'Deregister'. Once that has done then re-assign it to the new fermenter.

Calibration

Scroll down the Sensors tab until you see Tilt Calibration.

Select the Tilt you want to calibrate.

Take temperature and SG readings of the liquid you have your Tilt in and enter these into the respective fields in the calibration screen.

The controller will do the maths for you - so enter the temperature as you read it from your thermometer.

Make sure that you enter the SG number as a whole amount. So if your hydrometer reading is 1.065 then enter 1065.

Be sure to press send after you make each entry. The send button is normally found on your keypad screen in the bottom right.

Step 6: Setting Up Smartplugs

Once the app and data from the controller has loaded, go to the Smartplugs tab.

Select the Device Admin Tab and 'Set Smartplug Type'

Dial Plugs

If you have 'dial' plugs (these have two dials on the back of the plugs) then you won't need to program the controller. If you select 'Dial' as the Smartplug type and 'Codeset 1' then the plugs will work out of the box. If you have a conflict with other dial plugs in your house (or neighbours) then change the top dial to 2, 3 or 4 and select 'Codeset x' depending on the number you set the top dial to. The lower dial refers to the plug's functionality. 1 = Hot F1, 2 = Cold F1, 3 = Hot F2, 4 = Cold F2 etc.

The screen will change to the default plug settings for the plug you have selected.

Programmable Plugs

If you have other plugs then check the manufacturers instructions to determine how these work. Broadly there are two categories:

1. Plugs which come on in the programmed state

2. Plugs which when power is applied go into a programmable state for 30 seconds (or so) before reverting to their programmed state

If your plugs are in category 1 then select 'Controller' as the plug type.

If your plugs are in category 2 then select 'Controller - Delay' as the plug type.

If your plugs are category 2 it is important to select the correct category as you could end up with a situation, like a power cut, where the controller doesn't know that there needs to be a delay before sending a switch instruction. This may result in your plugs being inadvertently re-programmed.

Programming the controller

  • Press the Program tab
  • The screen will then ask you which plug it is going to learn the code for
  • Select the plug
  • Select the mode for the plug (on or off) . The screen will change and ask you to hold down the button on the remote that corresponds to the on/off instruction
  • Hold the remote close to the controller just above the white JST socket. The receiver in the controller doesn't have much range so it's important to keep the remote close to the box.
  • Once the controller starts to receive the remote signal the UI will tell you that it is receiving. Keep the remote button pressed down until the display returns to normal.
  • Repeat for the remaining instructions

Step 7: Setting Up Brewing Software

The controller will talk to both Brewfather and Brewer's Friend. It sends data every 15 minutes.

Go to the Brewfather/Brewer's friend app on your phone/pc

Brewfather

  • Go to your Brewfather account and log in
  • Copy the logging ID and enter it into the settings screen
  • Switch the service on
  • Select 'Settings and scroll down to the MyBrewbot icon

Brewer's Friend

  • Go to your Brewer's Friend account and log in
  • Go the the integrations section.
  • Copy the API Key
  • Enter the API key it into the App's settings screen
  • Turn logging on to start sending data
  • Wait 15 minutes for the stream to be recognised on Brewer's Friend
  • Assign the stream to your beer in Brewer's Friend

Turn Brewfather logging on to start sending data.

Step 8: Setting Up the Pressure Sensor

The pressure sensor is a 1/8" NPT Stainless Steel Pressure Transducer Sender Sensor 0-4.5V and is rated to 100 psi It replaces the analog dial you may already have on your spunding system. You may need to fit a reducing/enlarging adaptor to your existing spunding setup.

If you want to build your own spunding valve then there is an excellent guide here. Spunding Valve Instructions.

The pressure sensor goes into the pink jack socket. Connect the sensor to the extension cable and plug this into the pink socket. The controller will only support one pressure sensor. Do not be tempted to use a hub to try and increase the number. It won't work and may damage the controller.

In order to get valid readings it is important to calibrate the sensor. It is also important that you calibrate for all three values. Failure to do so will give variable, inaccurate readings.

This is done by pressurizing a keg to 10 psi, connecting your spunding valve, selecting the 10 PSI setting on the UI and then pressing the 'Start Calibration' button. The controller will then take a series of sample readings, average these out and store the calibration setting for 10 PSI. The 'Start Calibration' button will revert to green when the process has finished

Repeat this step for 5 psi and 0 psi by reducing the pressure in the keg on each successive calibration.

The pressure sensor can be allocated to a specific fermenter by switching the PSI button to 'On' on the fermenter you want it to record data from.

Step 9: Setting Up a Relay

Caution - anything involving mains electricity is dangerous - please take care.

The MyBrewbot controller delivers just under 4 volts - so choose a relay with the appropriate input voltage or it will not work. Here is a link to relays that we have used successfully.

If you want to use the MyBrewbot controller to switch a relay on or off then you will need to get a Micro JST 2.0 PH 3-Pin male plug to fit and wire it so that it looks like this...

At this stage do not connect any mains voltage to the relay

Connect the relay to the controller making sure that the +ve, -ve and data wires are connected correctly to the relay.

There is a blank tab to the right of the System Settings Tab.

At the top of the screen you will see drop down menu to set the relay to either a momentary or switched relay.

  • Momentary switches on and then off.
  • Switched stays on until you switch it off.

Test the relay by pressing the on button.

If you have set the UI to momentary then the relay should switch on and off in quick succession. If it is set to switch it will switch off only when you switch it off.

Step 10: ISpindel Setup

The way the MyBrewbot controller integrates with the iSpindel is via the Ubidots account you setup when you first got your iSpindel.

Be aware that if the internet connection is lost then the MyBrewbot controller will not be able to communicate with the iSpindel data.

For this reason we always recommend the use of a beer probe as a backup to the iSpindel for temperature control.

Make sure that your iSpindel is configured to send to your Ubidots account.

MyBrewbot polls for iSpindel data every 60 seconds so set your iSpindel configuration to report every 60 - 120 seconds.

Set the Service Type to Ubidots and then hit save.

Open up your Ubidots account and cut and paste the following data into an email to send to yourself (it's easier to cut and paste the long data strings from your phone than to input them manually).

The Device Name The Authentication ID The location of these fields is shown in the screenshot above:

The Variable ID for the Temperature field can be found by clicking on the Temperature datasource.

Once you have input this information into the appropriate iSpindel fields in the UI you can set the data collection button to On and set the controls in the Settings Tab.

Step 11: Fermenter Setup

Step 12: Profile Setup

The MyBrewbot controller can run profiles for you. You can have up to 15 steps in a profile. The controller will break each step down into hours and change the set temperature each hour.

It has 4 step types:

1. Time over Temperature

  • This step will run for the amount of time specified and then move onto the next step

2. Temperature over Time

  • This step will run for a minimum of the amount of time specified but will only move onto the next step if the target temperature has been reached

3. Specific Gravity

  • This step will run for a minimum of the timke specified but will only move onto the next step once the target SG has been reached

4. Free Rise

  • This step allows you to set a floor and ceiling temperature and will keep the beer between those parameters until the specified time has elapsed. It will then move onto the next step

Profile Modes

The controller can run your profile in 2 modes, test or live. Test executes a step every 10 seconds and enables you to see how the profile behaves. Live mode executes the hourly portion of a step every hour.

Creating a Profile

  • Unlock the UI
  • Select the fermenter you want to create a profile for
  • Name the profile
  • Select the step position in the table (the UI defaults to the first step)
  • Select the step type
  • Enter the starting temperature, end temperature, no of days (the UI accepts decimals for part days) and SG if required
  • Touch the next empty row in the table to enter the next step
  • When you have input all of your steps you can save the profile in one of the 5 storage slots available

Saving a Profile

  • Scroll to the bottom of the screen
  • Press the 'Store Profile' button
  • Open the 'Select where to store Profile' dropdown and select a slot
  • The profile is stored under that profile name

Retrieving a Profile

  • Scroll to the bottom of the screen
  • Press the 'Retrieve Profile' button
  • Open the 'Select Profile to Retrieve' dropdown and select a profile
  • The profile is retrieved and loaded into the controller and UI

Running a Profile

  • Select the mode
  • Press the 'Run' button
  • Use the stop and pause buttons to interrupt a profile and the Fwd/Rwd buttons to go forward or backwards

Profile Progress

Profile progress is shown at the bottom of the Fermenter Screen

Step 13: Resetting the WiFi

If for any reason you need to reset the WiFi connection on the controller (perhaps you have moved house, have lent the controller to a friend or changed your router's SSID or Password) then it's a simple matter to reset it by pressing the reset button on the top of the controller (just in front of the LED) twice within 10 seconds.

This will clear the WiFi settings and you will need to go through the app setup process in order to connect the controller to the new WiFi.

Don't worry, your data and all your settings are maintained.

To reset the WiFi:

Open the app, you will see a red dot in the top right corner indicating that the app isn't connected to a controller

Touch the red dot and take the device setup.

Once you have selected 'set up device' you will be asked to select the SSID that the controller will link to and enter the password for that SSID. Take care with entering the correct password.


You will then be asked which device you want to connect to. You should see MyBrewbot in the list of SSIDs you are presented with. Select that and press OK. The screen will then show you progress, and, if all the steps have been carried out successfully then you will be told that you are done.

Step 14: Updating the Controller Software

Go to the Settings tab. At the top you will see a red slide bar. Drag this across to the left until it turns green. This is the lock bar and you need to unlock the device before it will accept instructions.

Underneath the lock bar you will see information on the installed software and the latest version of software available on the MyBrewbot server. If these are not the same then you will need to install the latest software.

Before you install new software you should always perform a hard reset. Unplug the USB, wait 10 seconds and then plug in again. It's not good practice to install new software if you (or a willing assistant) are not on hand to do a hard reset if necessary after the update.

  • Scroll down until you see 'Device Admin'.
  • Select ‘Update S/W’.
  • The large button to right will immediately change colour to red.
  • Press the red button.
  • After a few seconds you will see the screen informing you that the download has started.
  • Wait for the screen to refresh itself once the download has completed.
  • Once you are happy that the screen has refreshed, perform a hard reset by removing power from the controller, waiting 10 seconds and then powering up again.

If for any reason the new software causes issues on your device then you can force the controller to revert to a known safe and stable version of the software by performing a hard reset, unlocking the UI, going to the fermenter settings tab and typing '123456789' into the beer name of any fermenter and pressing send.

Step 15: System Reports

There are a number of system reports on the System Settings tab. Scroll down the page until you see a drop down titled 'System Reports'. Here you can select from a variety of reports:

1. Settings Summary.

A summary of the main settings on the controller. It also includes your controller's IP address which can be used to operate the (limited) web UI

2. Smartplug codes.

A listing of the codes that are being used to operate your Smartplugs. If you see a duplicate code then it means that your controller programming has been programmed incorrectly from your remote. Go back to the Smartplugs setup and rectify matters.

3. Probe Status.

Raw probe information showing temperature

4. Diagnostics

This report will show you the main control sequences of the MyBrewbot as it does them;. Useful for diagnostics from our end.

5. Service Messages

A future feature to keep you informed of new software etc

6. Health check

Support information that will help us in the event of hardware issues

7. Boot Log

Again, largely support information enabling us to determine issues

8. Tilt settings

Raw Tilt information showing temperature, sg and calibration data

9. Timer Status

N/A

10. Brew SW Status

Error codes from data submissions to Brewfather/Brewer's Friend

11. Brew SW Detail.

More detailed data relating to the above

12 iSpindel

iSpindel submission/retireval error codes

Step 16: Manual Reflashing

The controller can be reflashed manually. Usually this will be suggested as a result of a support call.

The full reflash zip file can be found here together with instructions for reflashing and all the necessary drivers. We recommend using a windows pc - but if you only use a Mac then the full zip file can be found here.

Read and follow the instructions carefully.

Step 17: Troubleshooting - Faulty Probes

If you see a temperature reading of -127C or 85C (or their Fahrenheit equivalents) then there is a problem with the probe. 9 times out of ten it's down to a dirty jack plug.

Power down the controller and remove the probes from the hub/controller and remove the hub from the controller.

Using a soft/dry cloth wipe the jack plugs carefully. Re-insert the probes into the hub/controller, power it up and see if that has resolved matters.

Step 18: Troubleshooting - Tilt Connection

There are two main issues regarding connecting the Tilt:

1. Signal strength - if you are having difficulty with getting Tilt readings then think about repositioning the controller. Either locating it inside your fermentation fridge or positioning it so that it is approximately level with the position of the Tilt in the fridge. experiment until you get the best RSSI signal (shown above the Tilt Colour LED on the Fermenter data screen.

2. Interference - if there are a lot of Bluetooth devices around try to reduce their number. The receiver picks up all the BLE data being transmitted and this can affect performance.

If you are getting odd or no readings it is worth checking to make sure that you haven't inadvertently set a calibration parameter the wrong way. remember, the controller does the maths - you just have to enter the readings as you have taken them - but with the SG reading converted to a whole number (1.016 becomes 1016)

Step 19: Troubleshooting - Brewing Software Connection

The main reason for failure is that the Authentication ID is wrong. You may have accidentally transcribed a wrong character or there might be a spurious space somewhere in the string. Double check it and try again.

Experience tells us that the best way to successfully input the code is to copy the authentication code from the brewing software dashboard into an email. Send the email to your phone and then copy and paste the code into the UI.

You can check to see what the error codes being returned from the brew software are by running the Brew SW status and detail reports from the System Settings screen. Bear in mind that the controller only sends data every 15 minutes so you will need to wait for the next cycle to complete before you see any data in the report.

Step 20: Earlier Version Conversion Kit

If you have an earlier version of the controller then there is a conversion kit which can be purchased.

Conversion is largely a 'plug and play' exercise unless you have a controller with fixed probes. In which case you will need to solder jack plugs onto your existing probes or purchase new probes.

  1. Unscrew the old controller box.
  2. Remove the MCU (big chip) and the BLE transmitter receiver,
  3. Open the new controller chassis and plug the BLE chip into the board.
  4. Plug the MCU into the board - it goes above the BLE chip. It should face forward so that the USB socket marries up to hole on the front of the box.
  5. Plug in the 433mhz tx and rx chips. The 3 pin chip goes in the 3 pin socket and the 4 pin chip goes in the 4 pin socket.
  6. Screw the box top onto the chassis.

Step 21: Wiring Probes / Pressure Sensor

If you have bought 'solder yourself' probes then you will have got a probe and a 3.5mm jack plug which you will need to solder onto the probe cable once you have wired it into your fermentation chamber.

Take care to make good connections and avoid shorting any of the wires.

There is a wiring schematic shown above

If you want to buy your own probes from other than MyBrewbot then you will need to ensure that you buy legitimate (not clones) DS18B20 probes and ensure that they are wired as per these instructions.

The same wiring holds true for pressure sensors if you buy your own.

Step 22: Sideloading the MyBrewbot 2 App to Android 10+ Phones

Here's a quick guide on how to sideload MyBrewBot on Android 10+ phones

  1. Start the Settings app
  2. Either search for "Install Unknown apps" or (on my phone at least), navigate to Passwords & Security -> Privacy -> Special App Access -> Install Unknown Apps.-
  3. Select your web browser, in my case Chrome.
  4. Turn on "Allow from this source".
  5. Download the MyBrewbot 2 apk file from here: MyBrewbot 2 APK
  6. Tell your browser that you want to open the download and confirm you want to install the app.
  7. Important: Go back to the settings app again and *turn off* the ability for Chrome to install unknown apps.

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